Deep Ocean Mission
The Deep Ocean Mission is proposed as a multi-ministerial multi-disciplinary program with an emphasis on the development of deep-sea technology, exploration of deep-sea mineral resources, and biodiversity.
Under Deep Ocean Mission it is proposed to develop, test, and demonstrate the mining technology for harvesting polymetallic nodules from the Test Mine Site (TMS) in the allocated area of 75000 sq. km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).
- This Mission is proposed to be a Central Sector Scheme and no separate allocation for States is envisaged. The funds are expected to be allocated based on the above estimates.
- It is proposed to collaborate with non-governmental organizations for research collaboration for various components of the Deep Ocean Mission.
- The Deep Ocean Mission is proposed as a multi-ministerial multi-disciplinary program with an emphasis on the development of deep-sea technology, exploration of deep-sea mineral resources and biodiversity, acquisition of a research vessel for exploration, deep-sea observations, and capacity building.
- Ministry of Earth Sciences is the nodal agency for implementing the program.
- The major objectives proposed under Deep Ocean Mission are as follows:
- Development of technologies for deep-sea mining, underwater vehicles, and underwater robotics;
- Development of ocean climate change advisory services;
- Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity;
- Deep ocean survey and exploration;
- Proof of concept studies on energy and fresh water from the ocean; and
- Establishing an advanced marine station for ocean biology
- Polymetallic nodules cover vast areas of the abyssal ocean floor and contain significant amounts of critical metals.
- The chemical and mineralogical compositions of polymetallic nodules are primarily controlled by their formation process.
- A unique characteristic of deep-ocean nodules compared to terrestrial deposits is the presence of multiple commodities in one deposit; for example, nodules from the Clarion–Clipperton Zone contain Mn, Ni, Cu, and Co.
- Deep-ocean mining might avoid some of the environmental issues associated with terrestrial mining.
- The development of societies towards a more sustainable future cannot proceed without critical metals. Deep-ocean mining can not only deliver the metals necessary for this transition but can do so with a low carbon footprint.